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CEO's Message


Welcome to Our College!

Hello, and welcome to Naugatuck Valley Community College!

NVCC is a vibrant, diverse, and caring community of faculty, staff, and students. Here, you’ll meet people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures -- last count we had students representing over 50 countries! Over 30% of our students are Hispanic, and NVCC was designated as an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in 2015. Such diversity in perspectives, experiences, and abilities contributes to the rich fabric of culture at NVCC and allows us to achieve our Mission and Vision

Being able to take courses and earn degrees on two campuses in Waterbury and Danbury means that you help us become an “Engine of Change” in our communities.  

With over 70 associate degrees and more than 30 certificates through our academic programs, and an abundance of non-credit programs that lead to certifications, we are a comprehensive college where you find opportunities for your future: To strengthen and expand your skills, to start a new career, or to complete a degree or certificate and transfer to a four-year university or go directly into the workforce.

These past months have taught us that our world changes at lightning speed. But one thing remains the same: the quality of education you get at NVCC and the dedication of our faculty and staff to support you every step of the way. We believe that learning occurs everywhere at NVCC: in our classroom, through your engagement with clubs and other events and activities, and in your connections to faculty, staff, and your peers. Our shared focus is on how we can help you to succeed and reach your goals.

In a 1963 lecture, Ralph Ellison reminds us that in our diverse society, “Education is all a matter of building bridges.” Here at NVCC we know how to build bridges: we consistently find ways to span differences and connect with students and others; to build pathways among courses toward degrees, transfer, and future employment; and to create links to resources for students who need support.

We’re glad you’re here! If you have any questions about NVCC and how we are working to address the COVID pandemic and keep our campuses safe, please check out our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and other information here.

Find out more about NVCC by visiting our College Facts page. 


Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D.

About Dr. Dresdner

Dr. Lisa Dresdner, Chief Executive Officer at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) since August 2020, has 20 years of successful administrative and teaching experience in Connecticut’s community college system. Dr. Dresdner earned her Ph.D. in English from Loyola University, Chicago, her M.A. in English from Boise State University, ID, and her B.A. in English from the University of Utah.

Dr. Dresdner served as the Dean of Academic Affairs at NVCC from 2018-2020.During this time, she wrote the college’s 2019-2024 Academic Master Plan with the full input and integration of the Academic Council and faculty voices, and also wrote the NECHE 2018 Progress Report. She helped to create and lead “Doing Our P.A.R.T. (Paying Attention to Retention Today!), a data-informed initiative that integrates a wide range of activities and approaches across all units and divisions of the college, from financial aid to advising to pedagogy, with the purpose of increasing retention and successful course completion. Dr. Dresdner also led NVCC’s Academic Affairs transition to online-only instruction in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In her previous position as NVCC’s Associate Dean of the Liberal Arts/Behavioral and Social Sciences Division (2015-18) she led 45 full-time faculty, program coordinators, and directors of the Early Childhood Center and Technical Theater. Under her leadership, faculty piloted new courses that have become a permanent part of our curriculum, substantively revised learning outcomes and mapped competencies, and increased community outreach to foster growth in the performing and visual arts programs. Dr. Dresdner led all division activities including program reviews, competency assessments, scheduling courses, and enrollment and retention efforts with support of faculty and staff. Additionally, under her leadership NVCC launched its International Center for Arts initiative, whose mission is to connect our students and communities to an expanded world that expresses itself through the creative process.

Over the last ten years, Dr. Dresdner has helped to write and secure grants of all sizes and led or coordinated their accompanying initiatives. These include NVCC’s Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence grant that recently garnered NVCC its fifth Fulbright Scholar, Norwalk Community College’s (NCC) Achieve the Dream grant (Lumina Foundation), the Developmental Education Initiative (DEI) grant (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and several grants that partnered with other institutions’ FIPSE grants (LaGuardia Community College and Kingsborough Community College). Additionally, Dr. Dresdner has had primary roles in writing self-study accreditation reports, including NVCC’s most recent Fifth-Year Interim Report (NECHE, 2017), Norwalk Community College’s ten-year Self Study (2013), and a Substantive Change report at NCC.

Prior to joining NVCC, Dr. Dresdner was a Professor of English at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut for 15 years where, as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, she was the project director for the three-year, $750K Developmental Education Initiative (DEI) grant while on faculty leave. In this role she created workshops and led seminars to facilitate the scale-up of learning communities that emphasized integrative learning and the use of electronic portfolios. When she served as the Chair of the English Department at NCC, Dr. Dresdner introduced a mentoring program for part-time faculty, piloted an innovative approach to portfolio assessments, and developed professional development for learner-centered teaching strategies and curriculum mapping.

Dr. Dresdner’s interests are further reflected in the professional development she undertakes, which includes leadership training through Higher Education Resources (HERS) Leadership Institute (2017), the AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute (2015), and the Academy for Leadership Training and Development (2007).

Active in the Waterbury Community, Dr. Dresdner serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of Greater Waterbury, the United Way Impact Council on Education, and as a Governance Board Member for the Waterbury Arts and Culture Collaborative.

In her spare time, she loves to ski, hike, read, bake, garden, visit with family and friends, tend to her two large dogs, and socialize guiding eye puppies through Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

A selected list of Dr. Dresdner’s publications includes the following:

“Teaching in a Combined Program.” co-authored with Ruthanna Spiers. Building Synergy for High-Impact Educational Initiatives: First Year Seminars and Learning Communities. Eds. Lauren Chism and Janine Graziano. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina National Resource Center for The First Year Experience and Students in Transition, 2016: 61-81.

“Modeling Accountability.” Guest Blog Post for Accelerating Achievement through the Developmental Education Initiative, January 2012.

Teaching with Lunsford Handbooks. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012.

“Instructor’s Notes” for The Everyday Writer. fourth and fifth editions. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Co-Editor: (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars P, 2009.

“Space and Place.” Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography. Eds. Jo Malin and Victoria Boynton. Madison, WI: Greenwood P, 2005: 522-525.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.” Encyclopedia of Women’s Autobiography. Eds. Jo Malin and Victoria Boynton. Madison, WI: Greenwood P, 2005: 583-586.

“Audre Lorde.” Encyclopedia of Life Writing. Ed. Margaretta Jolly. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001: 567-566.